SANTA CRUZ CITY COUNCIL

Santa Cruz council to consider natural-gas changes

Santa Cruz City Hall

Santa Cruz City Hall. (Kara Meyberg Guzman – Santa Cruz Local file)

1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 / Online, by phone and at 809 Center St., Santa Cruz 

The Santa Cruz City Council on Nov. 14 will consider new rules for homes and businesses that use natural gas. 

Proposed rules would allow natural gas in new construction, but require that the buildings include enough physical space and electric capacity to be converted to electric power in the future.

In 2020, Santa Cruz city leaders prohibited natural gas in new construction except in restaurants. In April 2023, a California court struck down a similar rule in Berkeley. In June, the City of Santa Cruz suspended its natural gas restrictions.

—Jesse Kathan

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Buffered bike lanes for San Lorenzo Blvd.

Buffered bike lanes and crosswalks on San Lorenzo Boulevard are up for approval at the Santa Cruz City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14. 

San Lorenzo Boulevard runs past Mike Fox Park. The changes would slightly narrow vehicle lanes and:

  • Install a bike lane on San Lorenzo Boulevard between Laurel Street and Riverside Avenue with a “buffer” from vehicle traffic.
  • Create a path for bicycles near the intersection at San Lorenzo Boulevard and Ocean Street.
  • Create new crosswalks on San Lorenzo Boulevard at Riverside Avenue and at Canfield, Bixby and Laurel streets.

—Jesse Kathan

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 669-900-9128, meeting ID 946 8440 1344. To comment ahead of the meeting, email [email protected] by 5 p.m. Monday. The meeting will be streamed on Community TV.

ELECTION

Close race for Scotts Valley Fire measure

Scotts Valley Fire Protection District headquarters

Measure W asked Scotts Valley voters whether bonds should be sold and taxes collected from property owners to build a new, earthquake-safe fire station in Scotts Valley. (Tyler Maldonado — Santa Cruz Local file) 

Nov. 9 results for Measure W in Scotts Valley showed a narrow loss, with less than 66.7% of the vote required for adoption. Election Day for Measure W was Nov. 7. 

  • Yes: 3,187 votes (66.4%)
  • No: 1,613 (33.6%)

Results are expected to be updated as more ballots are counted, according to the Santa Cruz County Clerk’s Office. Election results are expected to be certified in early December.

Measure W asked voters whether bonds can be sold and money collected from Scotts Valley property owners to help pay for a new, earthquake-safe fire station for the Scotts Valley Fire Protection District. The new station would replace the fire station at 7 Erba Lane.

—Stephen Baxter

View election results

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY SUPERVISORS

Cannabis lounges to be mulled

9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 / Online, by phone and at 701 Ocean St., Room 525

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 14 will consider whether to explore a program that would allow “cannabis lounges” at dispensaries, and allow some marijuana growers to increase cultivation.

The board is expected to vote on whether to direct county staff to write several potential new rules for cannabis businesses by June 2024. Supervisors would then vote on whether to adopt the new rules.

Potential new rules would:

  • Allow current dispensaries to create lounges where people can smoke and consume cannabis. There are 12 permitted dispensaries in unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County.
  • Allow cannabis growers that haven’t broken rules or attracted complaints to increase the amount of marijuana they can grow by 2% annually.
  • Allow some cannabis farms that are smaller than 10 acres to use the entire area of existing greenhouses to grow cannabis. 
  • Allow permitted farms to sell the cannabis they grow and allow on-site smoking and consumption, similar to a winery.

—Jesse Kathan

To participate: Join on Zoom or call 669-900-6833, meeting ID 899 4924 0497. To comment ahead of the meeting, email: [email protected] by 9 a.m. Monday. The meeting will be streamed on Facebook.

Santa Cruz Local journalists wrote these briefs and previews for our weekly newsletter. Want to receive these local updates, a preview of all our most recent articles and more, straight to your inbox each Sunday? Sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest.

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Reporter / California Local News Fellow | + posts

Jesse Kathan is a staff reporter for Santa Cruz Local through the California Local News Fellowship. Kathan holds a master's degree in science communications from UC Santa Cruz.

Website | + posts

Stephen Baxter is a co-founder and editor of Santa Cruz Local. He covers Santa Cruz County government.